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Friday, May 17, 2013
The Heard: UT recruiting news and notes

By Max Olson and William Wilkerson

Welcome to The Heard, HornsNation’s weekly in-depth look inside the never-ending world of Longhorns recruiting with news, notes and interesting tidbits on the latest happenings around the program. We release this every Friday.

Talk about it in our forum and, if there’s a recruit out there you’d like to hear more from, let us know.
Read The Heard after the jump.

Visit changes Springs’ top 3

Texas’ recruiting weekend during the state track meet didn’t lead to any new commitments, but it did help the Longhorns’ chances of landing ESPN 150 defensive back Arrion Springs.

The San Antonio Roosevelt corner drove up to Austin on Saturday morning to meet with defensive backs coach Duane Akina. Though Springs wasn’t there long, the visit did more than enough to push Texas up his list.

Arrion Springs
Arrion Springs, who is No. 44 in the ESPN 150, moved the Longhorns up a spot in his top three.
“Texas is No. 2 on my list right now from the visit last week,” Spring said. “It would be Oregon, Texas and then Miami. Texas is not really a backup plan -- it’s really just between Oregon and Texas.”

Texas had been trailing both out-of-state programs going into the visit. Two things made Springs’ time on campus a valuable one for getting close to a decision. The first was the time he spent one-on-one with Akina.

“Me and Coach Akina got to sit down and chat and talk about football and how they’re going to use me, his style and my style,” Springs said. “It was a little more business this time. We got to actually sit down and talk -- he didn’t have to try to impress my mom or anything. I got to see the real coach. I want to get to the NFL, he wants to help me get to the NFL. We see eye to eye on things.”

The other big factor is the new interest Texas is showing in Springs' teammate and close friend, Roosevelt defensive tackle Trae Gardner.

The 6-foot, 254-pound lineman accompanied Springs on his visit this weekend and was told he could have a shot at an offer and a spot in the Texas class if he performs well at camp next month.

Springs and Gardner have been close friends since the fourth grade. He’s hoping Gardner can get offered by both Texas and Oregon, so that they can make their decision together.

“Trae wants to go to Texas, and I wouldn’t mind going there. It’s a good school,” he said. “We’re trying to stay together, but I don’t know if that will really happen. If my best friend is going to Texas, and I want to roll with him, I don’t know ... it would be crazy.”

Oregon has a firm hold on the No. 1 spot in Springs’ recruitment. The Ducks sent secondary coach John Neal to Roosevelt on Tuesday to scout the nation’s No. 44 prospect, and an offer should be coming soon once he approves it with new head coach Mark Helfrich.

Even though he’s never visited Eugene, Springs says there’s a variety of reasons why he’s got the Ducks on top.

“They have awesome facilities, Coach Neal is a great coach and fun to be around, they put guys in the league and that’s one of my goals,” he said. “It seems like a nice city to live in, great fan support, and there’s stuff you can do outside of football. You can go fishing or, when it’s snowing, you can go skiing. It might take me some time to get into skiing, but there is stuff to do there.”

Springs is planning to attend Oregon’s summer camp from June 18-20. Assuming he’d have an offer by then, it’s entirely possible he could make a decision soon after that visit.

One factor Springs and his family have discussed is the fact both Oregon and Miami could face NCAA sanctions in the next year. That’s something he’s mindful of during this process, but he currently isn’t worried about where Oregon stands on that front.

“I’ve talked to Oregon about the whole scandal going on and Coach Neal cleared it all up,” Springs said. “He just said they’ve been bringing the same thing up for three years now and the NCAA has yet to rule on it. He said they might have a couple scholarships taken away but it really shouldn’t have an impact.”

Expect Springs to camp at Texas and possibly Miami as well this summer. No matter what, though, he doesn’t think he can decide until he sees Oregon. The Longhorns are in for a battle for Springs, but no doubt his weekend visit helped. – Max Olson

Texas still high on Brown’s list

There isn’t much new when it comes to the recruitment of ESPN 150 cornerback Tony Brown, and that’s just how he likes it.

We’ve written quite a bit this spring about how devoted Brown is to track, and that commitment will extend deep into the summer. He’s in spring football now, but his other favorite sport will keep him busy going forward.

Brown told me he’s competing in a track meet in California this month, and after that comes the big events: The Caribbean Scholastic Invitational in Puerto Rico in June and the Pan Am Junior Championships in Medellin, Colombia in late August.

“It’s probably the biggest stage for any 18-year-old track athlete besides the Olympics,” he said. “Man, I can’t wait to get up there.”

Where does recruiting fall in the middle of that nearly two-month track commitment? He doesn’t feel any pressure to make any decisions or even focus on his process this summer.

“Like I said from the beginning, I just want to have fun with this whole ordeal and not let it overcome me,” Brown said. “I just have as much fun with it as I can.”

The CSI meet is June 7-8. Brown told me he “should be” able to make it to a Texas camp this summer, so presumably that would have to be the June 2 mini camp.

Brown was back in Austin this weekend for state track and got a chance to catch up with the coaching staff once more, just as he did during the Texas Relays weekend. He still isn’t ready to talk favorites or leaders.

But from talking to sources involved in Brown’s recruitment this weekend, it’s clear Texas is in better shape for Brown than most realize. LSU is still the presumed favorite, of course, but the Longhorns coaching staff feels confident about where it stands with the nation’s No. 27 prospect.

Don’t expect Brown to start talking about favorite schools until late in the summer, and it’s safe to say he hasn’t begun planning his official visits yet. There’s still a lot that has to play out, especially if he stick to his plan to commit in December or January. – Max Olson

Does offer sway ESPN 150 ATH?

Texas finally went ahead and offered a scholarship to one of the more explosive athletes in this state last week, Texarkana (Texas) Liberty-Eylau’s Davion Hall. What effect did that have on the Baylor commit?

Not much. We caught up with Hall, who’s been committed to the Bears since Feb. 2, this weekend at the state track meet. More than anything, he seemed surprised it took this long for the Longhorns to make that offer.

Davion Hall
Davion Hall can play many positions, but Baylor coach Art Briles will put him at WR, "turn him loose and see what he can do."
That may have a lot to do with how he felt about landing that offer from UT on Thursday. As Hall put it: “Uh, it’s just another offer, really.”

The No. 9 athlete prospect is ranked 73rd in the ESPN 150 and said ideally he’d like to play both offense and defense in college.

Despite seeming uninterested in the offer, Hall did have good things to say about the time he spent visiting Texas on Thursday.

“I went and looked at some of the stuff and it was pretty nice,” Hall said. “They showed me around. Mack Brown walked around with us a little bit. He’s a pretty cool dude.”

The highlight of the tour, he said, was Texas’ enormous weight room. Even though Hall said things are solid between him and Baylor, he did admit he will probably attend a Longhorn summer camp in June.

Texas A&M continues to heavily pursue the 6-2, 194-pound speedster, and he’s beginning to draw interest from more SEC schools.

Hall said he’ll likely camp at Baylor and UT, and he’s definitely interested in visiting Alabama this summer and hopes for an offer from the Tide.

Saying that would suggest his recruitment might not exactly be over, but Hall does insist he’s solid with his pledge to the Bears.

“It’s actually going pretty good,” Hall said. “I talk to the Baylor coaches and we’ve got a good relationship and everything. I feel real comfortable with them.”

Right now I don’t like Texas’ chances of landing Hall, but if he does make it back to Austin in June you can bet the staff will work hard to make a run at him. – Max Olson

2015 DB has Texas No. 1

A commitment isn’t imminent, but Texas has taken an early lead for coveted 2015 defensive back Larry Pryor Jr.

The Sulphur Springs (Texas) standout picked up an offer the day of the Orange-White spring game, and that early move did enough to move the Longhorns to the top of his list.

“Texas is probably still my favorite school right now,” Pryor said. “Texas A&M would be behind them because I haven’t been able to visit Tech yet.”

Texas and Texas Tech are the only two schools to offer the 5-11, 192-pound athlete. Both are recruiting him as a defensive back, he said, though Pryor could potentially play receiver in college as well.

In addition to visiting Texas’ spring game, Pryor also took in Texas A&M’s spring game last month. The Aggies haven't offered but made a good impression.

“The spring game was pretty fun,” he said. “I got to talk to coach [Kevin] Sumlin a little bit and we took a picture and all that. The actual spring game was fun. It was cool to see that many people came for the game.”

TCU coaches have told Pryor he’ll receive an offer if he visits their campus this summer, and he has begun to hear from Arkansas as well. The two recruiters he talks with most are Texas’ Stacy Searels and Texas Tech’s Trey Haverty.

“I’m still keeping up with Coach Searels,” Pryor said. “I like him, he’s pretty cool. He’s always been nice to me.”

Pryor wants to camp at Texas and A&M this summer, and at this point he’s focused on staying in-state for his college career. As for pulling the trigger on a commitment, that might take a while.

“I haven’t thought about doing it yet. I still want some time on it,” Pryor said. “Probably in the summer is when this really gets going.” – Max Olson

Texas offer would land 2015 DE

This week, I visited Round Rock (Texas) High School practice to check in on 2015 defensive end Breylin Mitchell. From the very beginning of our conversation, it was apparent the kid loves the Longhorns.

Mitchell couldn’t help but grin when the topic of Texas came up. Major Applewhite recently visited a Round Rock practice to evaluate Mitchell, and that thrilled the 6-4, 250-pound end.

Breylin Mitchell
Class of 2015 defensive end Breylin Mitchell is a huge Texas fan.
“Applewhite was big, because I’m a huge Texas fan. Huge,” Mitchell said. “I’m diehard. I noticed him and once I saw him, I called him that night. That was the craziest thing.”

While coaches aren’t permitted to speak with 2015 prospects right now, Mitchell’s coaches did relay to him one critique and said the Texas staff wants him at one of their camps in June.

“He just said I was doing good but that I need to be more aggressive with my hands,” Mitchell said. “That gave me pointers on how I can get to the next level. I will be at their camp, definitely.”

Mitchell has not been offered, and the staff would like to evaluate him further at camp before doing so.

And if he did get that offer? It’s pretty much a done deal from there.

“I mean, it’s pretty hard to say no,” Mitchell said. “It’d be hard to say no to Texas. It’s about 98-percent automatic that I would commit. It’s where I’m from. All my friends like Texas, I like Texas. That’s the thing -- I’m Austin born and raised.”

Mitchell didn’t get an invitation to visit for a UT sophomore day this spring, but he said he was told after the fact he should’ve attended. Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, LSU and Kansas State have all been showing early interest this spring.

Mitchell’s other favorite school growing up was Ohio State, but he has yet to hear from that coaching staff. Now that he knows Texas is interested, he’s highly motivated to keep getting better this spring so he can stand out at camp.

“I’m trying to get a lot faster,” he said. “I was about a half a step away from about 10 sacks last year. An extra step of speed would get me those sacks and those little tackles I missed.”

Even without those missed opportunities, Mitchell still earned District 16-5A Newcomer of the Year honors as a sophomore. I liked what I saw from the quick, well-built end during his practice on Tuesday. We’ll see if Texas agrees when he’s on campus next month. – Max Olson

2015 RB on the rise; yet to hear from UT

The Longhorns have already identified their top targets at running back in 2015 with offers out to Soso Jamabo (Plano, Texas/West) and Chris Warren (Rockwall, Texas/Rockwall).

But there are several others who could, at the very least, get strong consideration, including Ja'Mycal Hasty (Longview, Texas/Longview).

Hasty, who is 5-9 and 184 pounds, ran for 338 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore, which included rushing for 102 yards and a score against Dallas Jesuit in the second round of the playoffs.

He is the frontrunner to take over as the starting tailback now that Tory White is at Lamar.

He picked up his first offer from Texas Tech in April and has seen interest grow from other schools since the evaluation period began a few weeks ago.

“It’s been a thrill,” Hasty said. “Teams are starting to show interest in me and contacting me. It feels good right now just being so young. It’s hard to imagine it’s happened.”

Oklahoma, TCU, Texas A&M and Texas Tech have all stopped by to check in on him. He isn’t sure what they are telling his coaches, since programs can’t communicate directly with sophomores, but he’s confident it has something to do with his athleticism.

“Speed, quickness, strength, I’m mentally strong,” he said. “I have a high IQ on the football field.”

Hasty showed off that speed on Saturday by running the first leg in Longview’s silver medal-winning Class 5A 4x100 relay at the UIL State Track and Field Meet in Austin.

Despite being in Austin, Hasty said he still hasn’t heard from Texas.

“I haven’t heard from Texas at all,” he said. “I’d like to hear from anyone.”

Even if the Longhorns do extend an offer it appears they’d have an uphill climb against a longtime rival, should that rival extend an offer down the road.

“I grew up rooting for Texas A&M,” he said. “I had a cousin that played for Tyler Lee that went and played for A&M so I guess I’ve been a fan ever since then.” – William Wilkerson

2014 WR emerging as Texas target

Class of 2014 wide receiver Elton Dyer (South Houston, Texas/South Houston) was disappointed with his fourth place finish in the Class 5A high jump at the UIL State Track and Field Meet on Saturday.

But he’s been pleased with the way his football recruitment has taken off over the past few weeks.

Elton Dyer
With an offer, Texas would be No. 1 for 2014 receiver Elton Dyer.
Dyer, who is 6-2 and 175 pounds, claims an offer from Old Dominion but has rubbed elbows with several more established football powers since the evaluation period began in April.

“Oh man, it’s a blessing,” Dyer said. “The first coach that came to see me was last week from New Mexico State. I thought that was interesting. Then Boise State came in. Then Kansas. Then next thing you know UT came by. It’s a blessing.”

Longhorns running backs coach Larry Porter stopped by a few weeks back and asked that Dyer stop by for an unofficial visit while he was in town for the track meet. Dyer took him up on that offer last Friday.

“They took me to the players lounge and told me there were video games in there so just go feel like you are a part of the team,” Dyer said. “I just played video games and then they showed me around the field, the trophies, the weight room. After that we went and played some more games. It was pretty fun.”

Texas coaches told Dyer to keep in touch and to try and get down for its June 9 summer camp, which he will be able to attend.

He’s hoping the camp will move him another step close to an offer. If that were to happen ...

“Right now they’d be No. 1,” Dyer said. “I would feel like I accomplished my goals if Texas offered.”

Dyer is still a bit wet behind the ears with football but is much more established as a basketball player. He already holds offers from Cal and Utah State. Moving forward, he’d like to play both sports in college if possible.

“I would like to play both sports,” he said. “I’m not the type of person when one sport is over that I just stop. I like to keep moving so I want to do more with one sport.” – William Wilkerson

Dallas WR hearing from Texas

Texas is in decent shape with two wide receiver commitments in 2014 in Roderick Bernard (Houston/Sharpstown) and Lorenzo Joe (Abilene, Texas/Cooper). But there is much more to be desired.

The Longhorns are extremely interested in ESPN 150 prospects K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant) and Armanti Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas City). There is no sign, however, that either is leaning toward Texas. Our Hot Board has Cannon going to Texas Tech and Freeman headed to College Station.

That said, Texas is still evaluating several 2014 prospects, including TCU commitment Emmanuel Porter (Dallas/Lincoln). Porter (6-3, 189 pounds) helped Lincoln take home a bronze medal in the Class 4A 4x100-meter relay at the UIL State Track and Field Meet in Austin on Friday.

He has been committed to the Horned Frogs since August 13 but says schools like Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Memphis are showing interest.

Porter, as polite a recruit as you’ll find, appreciates the interest but kindly reminds the other schools that he’s firmly committed to TCU.

“I am committed,” Porter said. “I tell them I’ll look but I am committed to TCU.”

The Longhorns stopped by to check on him a few weeks ago and asked that he attend one of their summer camps.
“I’ll think about it,” he said.

It’s going to be tough for anyone to get Porter away from the Horned Frogs. They remain his only offer.

“I hear from them every week,” Porter said. “It’s been the same message from them but it is more buddy-buddy now.” – William Wilkerson